The Value in Software

This world of producers we live in is horrible. “PRODUCE!” says society, “it’s the only way to make money.” Wait. Isn’t money just quantifying value? What do I need money for if value is where it’s at?

Value is meaning to the world, it’s information encoded in a common language. Creating it is just a matter of translating some valuable information into a useful language.

A language is not simply that which can be expressed with letters and punctuation – for you see there is spoken language, body language, mathematical language, academic language, financial language, political language, computer language, jargon language, musical language, visual language–the list never ends.

Below, the secret algorithm, the three steps to creating value:

  1. learn some valuable information – “there are 249 people here, two train tracks, the train for Uppsala departs at 13:51, two people jogging towards the second track look stressed out”
  2. distill to its meaning – why? how? etc.
  3. encode in a language – “most people get onto trains in time, some don’t”

At the end of the process is a product, but it isn’t the product that is important. It’s the meaning! Reiterate this process, starting out with knowing that people need to get on trains in time – so they need to know when trains depart. Value!

There is no way to learn a language without using it, and what you create in a language is a candidate to becoming part of the language. The implication is that a language adapts to whatever it is used for.

Linguists have known this for a long time and software developers too – “open-source software” is the name of a global language for programming, spearheaded by GitHub and Bitbucket who create value by enabling its communication and to a large degree its existence. Learn “Linus Torvalds uses e-mail to manage patches for Linux,” means “developers need to collaborate.”

The software industry is concerned with making programs to create value in other languages. Facebook is concerned with social language, where checkins at fabulous places with fabulous people consuming fabulous products is the name of the game. Twitter is concerned with news language, EXTRA EXTRA, shout loud, shout immediately, shout often.

What valuable information do you have, and what can you distill from it? Leave a comment below the break!


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